Archive for January, 2011

I had an interesting conversation with my class today…

January 31, 2011

Today, I was teaching the industrial revolution.  I brought in some Legos to explain the concept of interchangeable parts,  All of my classes asked where I got them, but the conversation in one class kept going on.  The following is a paraphrase of the events.  This conversation took about a minute of two.  Keep in mind although this isn’t word for word, this is pretty much how it went.

“Where did you get the Legos?”

“They are mine.  I have had them since before you were born.”

“Did you play with Legos a lot when you were young?”

“Yes, I loved Legos.  When I was in 8th grade, I did my Anne Frank project out of Legos.”

“Did you have any friends?”

“Yes. Why?”

“Because you spent all of your time playing with Legos?”

“No, I didn’t.  I did one project out of Legos and I was really good with Legos, so it didn’t take that long.”

“Who was your best friend in middle school?”

“His name was David.”

“The same David from the picture?”

“No, a different David.”

“Do you have a thing for Davids?”

Not wanting to explain all of the Davids I know and have lived with, I replied, “We are getting off task.”

“Why do you still have the Legos?”

“I got them from my parents’ house?”

“You parents still have some of your stuff in your room?”

“Yes, they didn’t just throw everything away when I moved out.  I even have some of my dad’s toys that my grandma gave me.”

“What kind of toys did he have?”

“It was an Erector Set.”

*Giggles* “What’s that?”

“It has a bunch of pieces of metal, screws, and nuts and you make build things with it.”

I knew the conversation was going downhill and I kept trying to save it, but I had just said “erector,” “screw,” and “nuts” so there was no hope.  By this point, I just stopped.  I had already gotten way off track.

I should make it a goal to go one day without getting off task, but that would be very hard.  My kids ask a bunch of random questions and I just get sucked in.

-J

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I can’t do everything…

January 30, 2011

But I try to.  I made a resolution to try to delegate things at work, but I guess I still need some work.

It’s funny, I am the person on my team with the least experience, but I still try to do everything.  I like the people I work with, but I guess I like to have control of things.  I do not let them plan lessons.  For instance, we had three lessons we needed to create for this six weeks (because I didn’t like what we did last year).  I decided to have each of us plan one of the lessons.  But guess what, I ended up planning them all.  It’s not that they didn’t do it, but I just wanted to look and see what I could come up with and both times, I finished my plans before they did and ended up using my ideas.

I think I like being busy.  My other work related resolution is to try not to spend so much time at work, which I am doing a better job of.

-J

My school and its ridiculous policies…

January 27, 2011

It’s bad enough that our principal makes the teachers tuck in our t-shirts when we wear jeans, but things are getting even more ridiculous.  Apparently the policy is (and has been for the whole year) that we cannot wear tennis shoes, even on jeans day.  And now they are starting to enforce it.  My principle says it is a district policy.  Even if it is, I doubt no other school enforces it.  But we are allowed to wear tennis shoes on TAKS testing day, because “they are quieter,”  but we can’t wear jeans those days.  Also when we wear jeans, we have to wear a spirit shirt.  This means that on Fridays I can wear jeans, a tucked in t-shirt, and dress shoes.  I look so cool.

So the kid I was talking about previously has been transferred to another class.  I can’t say I am upset, but I am really surprised it happened.  Honestly, I think he was better off in my class than the class he was moved to, but it’s not my problem.

-J

I had an interesting conversation with a parent today…

January 25, 2011

Yesterday, I sent a student to the office for pretending to shoot a gun multiple times, including pretending to shoot another student.  The assistant principle called the dad and things did not go well, so he asked me to call the dad and things did not go well either.  The dad started off mad at me.

Let me summarize the dad’s complaints.  He was mad because I didn’t call/email him right when it happened and he was “blindsided” by this.  He is also mad that I took this to the administration instead of leting him take care of it at home.  I told that yes, we had talked about calling him (in a parent conference), but that I cannot always stop my class to do so because I have 25 other students that I have to teach.  I also said that I have been emailing him about his son’s behavior (and lack of work ethic) and I have not seen any change, so I had to take things further.  I also said that I will decide what is appropriate in my class.

Now, things weren’t quite so civil.  He was angry and was really making me angry.  I finally decided that I was going to hang up the phone.  I couldn’t think of what to say, so I said “I’m done” and hung up.  I immediately went to my assistant principal and told him what happened.  He said “Good.  I hope he comes up here.”  I was shaking at this point, because I was so angry.  I also email my principal and told him what happened.  His reply was that I need to work on my dismount, but he understands my frustration.  I siad that it was the least offensive thing I could think to say at that time.  (There was a lot more I wanted to say, but I didn’t want to push things too far.)  He emailed me back a statement the he keeps by his phone for what to say in a situation like this.

Let me just say that I felt really good for what I did.  It wasn’t the most professional, but I was so upset and do not deserve to be treated that way.  I guess I will just have to wait and see what happens next.

PS- My lesson plans from today came from a video I saw from The Onion.

-J

Registration…

January 18, 2011

Some of you may remember my post last year about high school registration.  To sum it up, last year, the students were able to register themselves for all of their classes (at the high schools, not the middle schools).  I thought it was a terrible idea because everyone tried to schedule all of their classes with their friends.

Today, I was talking to the counselor because we are getting ready to start registration for next year.  I asked her if they were still doing it the same way.  They are at one of the high schools, but not the other.  I asked her if she knew how it worked out and she said they had a lot more discipline problems because of this.  I told her that was exactly what I thought would happen and I told her that I don’t know why they thought it would be a good idea.  She did say that some people (including the technology department and school board) were not very excited about “going backward.”  But seriously?  It may work well for high school juniors who are registering, but not for 8th graders.  Spend some time in a class full of middle schoolers and you will see.

-J

Math & Science…

January 11, 2011

I took the day off on Friday.  Everyone thought it was for the Cotton Bowl, but that just happened to coincide.  Actually, I took a certification test for Math and Science 4-8.  You might be wondering why I would want to get certified in math and science, but of course I had other motivations.

I have been thinking about getting certified in math or science for a while.  I have always been good in these subjects and believed I could pass the tests.  With me being not having much seniority at work, I thought it would be a good backup plan, in case something happened.

I got an email in December for a program that will pay for you to get certified in math and/or science.  For those of you who are not teachers, it costs $120 to take the certification test and $77 to have the certification added to your certificate.  I didn’t really want to spend the money, but if they are paying for it, I’m all in.  I would not get this money if I did not pass the test, so I made sure to study.

Oh wait, it gets better.  In addition to reimbursing me for these fees, they will also give me $1000 for passing the test ($2000 if I taught in a Title I school).  Now I don’t really have an interest in teaching math or science (I am perfectly happy teaching history), but I am interested in getting paid $1000.

I found out today that I passed the test!  Some of it was difficult, since I haven’t seen a lot of the material in a while, but I was confident that I passed.  I looked it up and this was actually the highest I scored on one of these tests.  Now I am waiting for my check.

For those of you teachers who may be interested, you can find out more information here.  There is another round that opens next month.

Now that I have this certification, who knows what the future will hold.

-J